My dad recently tried the Bread in 5 Minutes method. He raved about it, and encouraged me to try it. A surprise mid-afternoon nap from Little Mister yesterday finally gave me the motivation to research the method and mix up some dough.
I followed the "White Boule Artisan Free-Form Loaf" recipe linked at the bottom of the Bread in 5 minutes page. (I did this for Sweetpea. We're almost always a whole grain/whole wheat household, and she begs for white bread.)
It really was easy:
- Mix up the dough (no finicky yeast blooming)
- Let it sit for two hours
- Put it in the fridge
- When chilled, tear off a piece of dough and shape it into a ball (this leaves you with enough dough for approximately 3 more small loaves)
- Let it rest for 40 minutes
- Bake for 30 minutes
Hands-on time probably was 5 minutes for the loaf. While it wasn't as easy as throwing ingredients in the bread machine, the pretty crust was worth the effort. (You just can't get a pretty crust from a bread machine.) And it was much easier than the traditional bread-making method.
A quarter of the dough (a grapefruit-sized chunk) made a loaf about the size of a football. (A flat football, Hubs says.)
Bottom line: I still love my bread machine. I'll still get lots of use out of my bread machine. But when I need a fancy, presentable loaf of crusty homemade bread, you can bet this is how I'll do it.*
* I realized while writing this that I could potentially get the same type of loaf using the bread machine. I'm just thinking out loud here, but I bet I could make the dough in the bread machine, take it out, form it into a loaf, maybe let it rest, slash it and bake it with steam (as in the method above), and get the same crust. I guess it wouldn't be that much easier. If I try it, I'll report back here.